APOY 2015

Amateur Photographer of the Year 2015 – Your chance to enter the UK’s most prestigious competition for amateur photographers – sponsored by Sigma

 **Entries must be received by midnight (UK time) on the
closing date at the correct email address below**

(Please do NOT send to the general AP email address)

Amateur Photographer of the Year 2015

Photo by Fearghal Breathnach – winner APOY 2014 round 6 Macro

Over the years AP readers have sent us some incredible images, so 18 years ago we decided to launch the Amateur Photographer of the Year competition in its present format to showcase all their hard work. Since then, APOY has received thousands of entries, with many of them taking the judges’ breath away.

Amateur Photographer of the Year 2015

Photo by James Eldridge – winner APOY 2013 round 5 Floral Still Life

APOY 2015 follows a different format to last year, with eight monthly rounds from March until October. The competition is open to all amateur photographers, but please note that those entrants who live outside the UK who win a prize will be liable for any local customs charges. After the closing date of each round, the entries are narrowed down to a shortlist of 50, then the top 30, and finally the top three. Points are awarded to each image for creativity, technical excellence and how well the image fulfils the brief.

Amateur Photographer of the Year 2015

Photo by Ferdinand von Korff – winner APOY 2014 round 10 Architecture

Judges are looking for imaginative and well-executed pictures that explore the theme in an exciting way. The names of the top 50 photographers from each round appear on our website, along with the images from the top 30. The top 30 images are also published in AP at the end of the following month. After the eight rounds, the person with the most points will be crowned Amateur Photographer of the Year 2015.

Amateur Photographer of the Year 2015

Photo by Roberto Binder – winner APOY 2014 round 7 Travel Photography

The prizes

Prizes are awarded to the first-placed entrants for each round. This year we have great Sigma lenses and accessories on offer, worth a total each month of over £1,000. We also have a top prize of a Sigma SD1 Merrill plus a Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM lens for the overall winner. That’s a grand total of over £10,000 worth of prizes for APOY 2015, in association with Sigma.

APOY 2015

Prize for APOY 2015 round 1 Night Life – Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A lens, EF-610 DG Super flashgun and a USB Dock

About Sigma

Sigma’s mission is to provide exceptional products at an affordable price. All Sigma products are manufactured exclusively by Sigma in the company’s own dedicated factory in Aizu, Japan.

Sigma’s reputation for advanced cutting-edge lens design is demonstrated by its series of lenses, ranging from 4.5mm to 800mm. These lenses are designed for enthusiast and professional photographers alike, and all are backed by a three-year UK warranty when imported by Sigma Imaging (UK) Ltd.

Sigma’s new Global Vision range of cameras and lenses incorporates the very latest in optical technology, with unique innovations such as the ultra-fast 18-35mm f/1.8 Art lens and USB Dock that allow unrivalled customisation of Global Vision lenses by the photographer using Sigma Optimization Pro specialist software. This ground-breaking new range is winning praise and awards for its quality and innovation from both customers and industry commentators.

How to enter APOY 2015

We need to know where and how you took your image, plus the camera and lens used with aperture and focal length details. Remember to include a telephone number and your postal address so we can contact you if you win.

Image size

Your image* must be at least 2,700 (3,000 maximum) pixels along its longest dimension, to be printed in the magazine. The file name of your image must be your first and surnames, for example Kate Windsor.jpg. The subject line of your email message must state the round name and your name once again – eg Going Abstract: George Windsor. Finally, in the body of your email, include the camera model, lens and exposure details, if known, such as Olympus OM-D E-M10, as well as a sentence describing what the image is. If your email does not meet these requirements, we will unfortunately not be able to enter it into the competition.

  • Entrants should submit only ONE image per round.
  • Only entries sent to the correct email address will be entered into the competition.
  • The image should be at least 2,700 pixels along its longest edge.
  • It must be a JPEG file, preferably sRGB.
  • The file name must be your first name and surname.
  • The subject line of your email must state the round name and your name once again.
  • Include your postal address and daytime telephone number in the body of your email.
  • List your camera model, lens, exposure details and any other information in the body of your email.
  • Entries must be received by midnight (UK time) on the closing date

  Please note the following and send your email to


Copy and paste the following into the body of your email and tick or mark “x” in the brackets below where applicable –

I earn no more than 10% of my total annual income or £5,000 annually from photography (tick to confirm) [ ]. This entry has not previously been published in a national UK photography magazine [ ] (tick to confirm). Amateur Photographer, published by Time Inc. (UK), will collect your personal information to process your entry. If you would like to receive emails from Amateur Photographer and Time Inc. (UK) containing news, special offers and product and service information and take part in our magazine research via email, please tick here [ ] Amateur Photographer and Time Inc. (UK), would like to contact you by post or telephone to promote and ask your opinion on our magazines and services. Please tick here if you prefer NOT TO hear from us. [ ] Time Inc. (UK), may occasionally pass your details to carefully selected organisations so they can contact you by telephone or post with regards to promoting and researching their products and services. Please tick here if you prefer NOT TO be contacted [ ] If my entry is not successful, I would like the image to be considered for critique in the Appraisal column [ ]

Please see below for all the rules for entry, terms and conditions. We only accept entries in the form of prints, slides or emailed digital files – we cannot accept discs. Remember to include your address, a daytime telephone number and as many details about your image as possible so we can judge it accurately.

To enter by post

Send a covering letter with your image, including the information mentioned above, letting us know if you would like your entry returned to you after judging (please enclose an SAE) or if you prefer print off an entry form (available from round 2). Entries should be sent to APOY 2015, Amateur Photographer, Time Inc (UK) Ltd, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London SE1 0SU.

Plan your APOY 2015 year

Below is a list of this year’s rounds, a synopsis of what we’re looking for and the dates they will be announced. When you are planning your entry, remember to take into consideration the criteria of fulfilling the brief, creativity and technical excellence on which you will be judged.

 Theme  Synopsis Announced   Closes
 1. Night Life  Low Light Photography   7 Mar   29 Mar
 25 Apr
 2. Going Abstract  Abstract images   4 Apr   26 Apr
 30 May
 3. The Wider Perspective  Creative Wide Angle   2 May   31 May
 27 June
 4. In Focus  Shallow depth of Field   6 June   28 June
 25 July
 5. Up Close  Macro (insects/flowers/plants)   4 Jul   26 Jul
 29 Aug
 6. On the Street  Street Photography   1 Aug   30 Aug
 26 Sept
 7. Lay of the Land  Landscape and cityscapes   5 Sept   27 Sept
 31 Oct
 8. Shades of Grey  Black & White   3 Oct   1 Nov  28 Nov


  1. Entrants may submit only one photograph per month, as an sRGB JPEG file that is 2,700-3,000 pixels along its longest dimension, an unmounted print (max size 210x297mm) or slide (no glass mounts please), in colour or black & white.
  2. The entrant’s name, address and daytime phone number must be attached to the slide mount or the back of the print.
  3. You may only submit digital files by email (no CDs/DVDs). When submitting a digital file, the file name of your image must be your first name and surname, the subject line of your email message must state the round name and your name once again, and the body copy of your email must include your name, address, daytime telephone number, the camera model, lens and exposure details.
  4. Photos submitted must be your own work, must not be copied, must not contain any third-party materials and/or content that you do not have permission to use and must not otherwise be obscene, defamatory or in breach of any applicable legislation or regulations. If Time Inc. (UK) has reason to believe your entry is not your own work or otherwise breaches this rule, your photos will NOT be considered.
  5. Photos must not previously have been published in a national UK photography magazine.
  6. Copyright of all entries remains with the photographer, but Time Inc. (UK), Sigma and their associated group companies reserve the right to use, publish and republish entries in connection with the competition, without payment.
  7. By entering this competition you grant permission to Time Inc. (UK), Sigma and their associated group companies to reproduce your photos in electronic format and hard copy including for display at an exhibition, in Time Inc. (UK)’s Amateur Photographer magazine and on Time Inc. (UK)’s and Sigma’s websites and social media should they be selected to promote the competition.
  8. You grant Time Inc. (UK) and Sigma the right to use your name and town or city of residence for the sole purpose of identifying you as the author of your photos and/or as a winner or runner-up of the APOY competition.
  9. Each postal entry must be accompanied by a covering letter, including your name, address, telephone number and image/camera details. All submissions must be well packaged in a stiffened envelope (no tubes, please) bearing sufficient postage, and entrants wanting their picture back must include a stiffened SAE stamped of sufficient value for their return. If you prefer to use an entry form please print one out and send with your picture.
  10. This competition is open to bona fide amateur photographers and students only. That is, entrants should not earn more than 10% of their total annual income OR £5,000 annually from photography.
  11. Employees of Time Inc. (UK) , Sigma and their families may not enter this competition. Entries are judged by AP staff.
  12. There is no age limit for entering, and international entries will be accepted.
  13. Prizes are as stated and no cash or other alternative can be offered to the monthly prizes or overall prize.
  14. Prize value correct at time of going to press. Overseas winners will be contacted about how to claim their prize, although entrants who live outside the UK who win a prize will be liable for any local customs charges and enter at their own risk. Sigma has the right to substitute a prize for a similar item of equal or higher value if the stated prize is not available. No money can be added to the overall prizes. The overall first prize for the APOY 2015 competition will be to win Sigma products to the value of £2,000 RRP as at the date of notification.
  15. Prizes are subject to Sigma standard terms and conditions for its products. Acceptance of a prize is deemed to be acceptance of those terms and conditions.
  16. Entries on behalf of another person will not be accepted and joint submissions are not allowed.
  17. No responsibility is taken for lost, delayed, misdirected or incomplete entries. Proof of delivery of the entry is not proof of receipt.
  18. No purchase is necessary.
  19. The overall winner must choose his or her prize within six weeks of being notified. In the event of a tie, the Editor will choose a winner. The Editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  20. By submitting photos you are accepting these rules.
  21. Time Inc. (UK), Sigma or their associated group companies shall not be liable for any loss, damage or injury of any nature howsoever caused, sustained by any entrant under this promotion. However, nothing in these rules shall have the effect of excluding or restricting liability for personal injury, death, fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation caused by the proven negligence of employees or agents of Time Inc. (UK), Sigma or their associated group companies.
  22. Sigma shall not be liable for any failure to supply the prizes where such failure is caused by any supervening circumstances outside its control which amount to force majeure and which without the fault of either party renders performance impossible or incapable of satisfactory execution.
  23. These rules are governed by the laws of England and Wales and any dispute in relation to them shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.
  24. This competition is owned and run by Amateur Photographer/Time Inc. (UK) and all competition terms and conditions are bound by Amateur Photographer/Time Inc. (UK) rules.

Amateur Photographer Awards 2015

At this year’s Amateur Photographer Awards Sigma UK won the

Fixed Focal Length Lens of the Year and Product of the Year
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A

In-Association-with-Sigma 250

* How to resize your image

To get your file size down to less then 10MB, you need to resize your image and save it as a JPEG. If you’re working in 16-bit colour, you’ll need to convert to 8-bit first, too.

Here’s how to do this, using Photoshop (other software will have similar functions):

  1. Resize: Image -> Image size: enter a value from 2700 to 3000 for the longer edge. Don’t worry about the pixel dimensions size shown in the dialogue box here, as the final JPEG file size will be much smaller.
  2. Convert to 8-bit: Image -> Mode -> 8bits/channel. This won’t be necessary if you’re already working with 8-bit colour.
  3. Save as JPEG: File -> Save as…, and in the ‘Format’ option, select ‘JPEG’. You’ll see a ‘Quality’ slider that allows you to trade-off file size against image quality: in Photoshop this is usually best set to 10 (with the scale being 1-12). There’s little point in setting the quality higher, but at lower values you will start to see some degradation.

If you go through these steps starting from a 3:2 aspect ratio shot, then you should end up with an image file that’s 6MP (3000 x 2000 pixels) and somewhere around 2MB in size.